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SERM. would be? “ He it is, to whom I shall XIV.
give a sop, when I have dipped it ;” and he gave it to Judas Iscariot. It was at this same last supper that he instituted the sacrament, to be observed by all his followers of every age, in remembrance of his death, and it was here likewise that he rose from table, and condescended to wash and to wipe his disciples' feet, setting an example, as he himself said, of the humility and benevolence which it was the duty of Christians to practise. “ If I, who am your lord " and master, do this humble office for
you, how much more ought you to do
every kind of good service towards each “ other!" But he foretold not alone that Judas should betray him; he foretold likewise that all his other disciples should forsake him in his danger, and to Peter particularly, who made vehement protestations of the constancy with which he would stand by him, he foretold that ere the cock crew,
he would deny him thrice. It was imme- SERM.
XIV. diately on rising from this supper, that he went into the garden of Gethsemane, where he suffered that dreadful agony, so dreadful that the sweat burst from him like clots of blood, or, as some understand it, real blood burst through the pores of his skin. It was now likewise that he prayed so earnestly three times in the same words :“ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass
from me; nevertheless, not my will “ but thine be done.” St. Luke tells us, that an angel was sent from heaven to comfort and support him. There seem to be two difficulties here, which deserve to be considered. If Jesus knew that he came into the world for the express purpose of dying on the cross for the sins of men, which he certainly did know, how comes it that when the hour was approaching, he should pray so fervently against it? This is the first difficulty, and perhaps it may
SERM. be done away thus; he did not really mean XIV.
that he wished to be exempt from the cross, but I think we may understand his words thus :~ Father, though the weak• ness natural to the human body, with
which I am clothed, would prompt me • to desire to avoid the cruel sufferings • that I am about to undergo, yet, as it
is the salvation of the world which I shall
accomplish by such sufferings, I sub'mit,'--"not my will but thine be done.” Each time, you observe, he concluded his petition, with declaring himself resigned to his father's purpose. The other difficulty is how to account for his dreadful agony: it could not arise merely from the fear of death ; that appears to be quite inconsistent with the heroic fortitude which he had displayed through the whole course of his life; nor is it at all probable, superior to all weaknesses as was his character, that he should have felt such extreme terrors
at submitting to that which multitudes of SERM.
XIV. his followers, of every age and of both sexes, afterwards encountered for his sake, not merely with unconcern, but even with joy. It could not arise from any imagination which he had of the anger of God, for he knew that God was never better pleased with him than at this time. There are two accounts given of this matter, and as nothing certain can be determined on it, I must leave you to adopt that which you shall think most probable. Either will convey to us a most solemn and important lesson. One is, that the pains under which Jesus now laboured, were inflicted by the immediate hand of God himself; that they were of the same kind as the wicked shall suffer hereafter, and if this were the case, they were certainly such as man never felt, and the anguish which he expressed was no more than adequate to the cause. Whether it was (if we adopt this cause of
SERM. his suffering) that these pains were necesXIV.
sary to complete the end for which he de. scended on earth, namely, the redemption of the souls of mankind; or whether he endured them as a warning to give men a proof of the dreadful anguish which awaits the impenitently wicked,—anguish, which shewed itself so visibly even in the Lord of life-which of these two were the reason of his having this misery laid on him, is uncertain ; but either of them are sufficient to declare to us the vast malignity of sin, and the terrible danger to which it exposes us,
Another cause of his agony, which is assigned by some, is this—that he had at this time before his eyes, in the strongest light, the heinous and malignant nature of sin, and God's severe threatenings against it; and though he could not but be sensible that, by the death he was about to undergo, he should rescue those from it who chose